Monday, March 26, 2007

You draw that yourself?

In answer to the many inquiries I have received about my process for creating It's the Michaels, here is a short overview.

Episode structure
You may notice that I refer to each update to the story as an installment. That's because it's not an episode. If you look at the bottom left corner of every page in the cartoon you will see that these installments are all part of Episode 101 (Season 1, Episode 01). When completed, Episode 101 will have approximately 80 pages. Season 1 will comprise about 6 episodes, each taking place during a different weekend of the summer. How many seasons will there be? I can't say because as the overall story evolves it may change. I can tell you that there will be a bridge episode in between each season that will take place from September to May. These will be fun for me because the setting and time span will be very different from the regular episodes.

Step 1
On to the drawing process: Episode 101 has already been written from start to finish and drawn out as pencil roughs. This pencil rough draft is where I being when I draw a new installment. So for all my cartoons, Step 1 is complete before I start: I have a pencil rough that gives me the dialog and basic composition.

Step 2

The final drawing starts out the way you think it would: as a pencil sketch. Using the rough draft as a basic guide, I make final pencil drawings of the characters and any props they have.

Step 3

I trace the pencil drawings with a pen onto a new piece of paper and scan the pen drawings into the computer.

Step 4

The drawings are combined in Photoshop where I piece them together to form the final layout and I add the dialog. I don't hand-letter any of the text. I use a font called Alter Ego.


Backgrounds are created a little differently. I will explain that process in a future posting.

About today's installment

Here's what I didn't really pull off in this cartoon that I wanted to: What you are supposed to notice when you first meet these two guys on pages 7 and 8 is their height difference. Then - and here's the funny part - You realize that they are actually the same height! One of them was just wearing platform heels the whole time! And he's a boy! Get it? Hysterical!

The reason it didn't work out was that Bryce also has a feather boa wrapped around his arms that needs to stay to below frame until the reveal. So I can't have him high enough in the frame to convey a real height difference between him and Connor. And even if I did - exactly how high are these platform heels supposed to be? I'm still happy with the overall scene even though the joke doesn't play out the way I wanted it to.


theGayMonsters said...

LMAO... very funny. I love it. Thanks for sharing your creation process. I look forward to reading about the background development process. By the way, I saw a documentary on Fire Island on Logo yesterday. I thought of you and "It's the Michaels". I didn't know much about Fire Island. Now I want to go! Great job!

Chris said...

Glad you saw that documentary, it's a fascinating look at the history of Fire Island. If anybody else wants to see it, you can catch it on Logo Sunday April 1 at 4:30 PM and Friday April 13 at 9 PM. It's called "When Ocean Meets Sky."

Lanelle said...

People should read this.